Looking back... and forward!
While we are in the midst of opening our new store I wanted to take some time to reflect on why it is that we are doing this and how it all started...
I started Nonchalantmom back in the summer of 2004 with a simple idea. I wanted to provide something for women and mothers like myself, there was nothing like it online (funny to think of that now). I wanted to offer alternative ideas when it came to raising their children and to provide a place where moms could find beautiful handcrafted things for their kids, and then later we began to offer things for women too. I loved Lucky Fish, Makie, Erica Tanov and Margaret Solow and I knew that other people would too. I still work with these guys and we have become the best of friends, in the coming years we added talented people like Jess Brown, Sue Tsai of nico nico, and Katherine who makes Wovenplay among others. I don’t like to have anything in my store that isn’t made by someone I respect and equally respect what they are doing, I have nothing against men, but this meant that most the people I work with are women. It’s almost as if I become friends with all my vendors - and if I don’t they don’t stay around long. It’s important to me that we are all a big family and invested in each others success. When people ask me how do I know that I want in my store, I tell them that when I am in a partnership with a designer I know it’s going to work for me and be good for my customers. I believe that a store like mine is about being in a partnership with my customers, the vendors and myself. I know I can’t compete with big stores and I don’t try to - what we are doing is different. When you shop from us you are helping a designer work from home and raise her kids, she works with a factory that employs people who work hard, have regular hours and go home and spend time with their family. The garments are made with fabric that isn’t always organic but it’s made in the USA, Italy, India or Japan, again in factories with workers who are paid to work and then go home and spend time with their families. It’s all a part of a chain of respect - and that respect comes at a price that is different from something that is made in a factory with less than optimal conditions (that’s putting it lightly), that is not living wage.
Part of that loving relationship meant that I wanted to open a shop again, I missed being part of my community in the town we have called home for the last 12 years - Wakefield, Rhode Island. The decision to open a shop was not an easy one, I’ve never had the kind of wealth that allowed me to think extravagantly - whatever I was going to do needed to focus on ‘simple’ and straightforward, in both concept and design. When the space that I eventually took became available I knew it was the perfect place for Nonchalantmom - and things just came together after that, we built the furniture, we took things from our home and the result is just beautiful! So whether you are shopping online or in the store you are a part of our family, you are contributing to a place that is part of a hard working chain of people making good things. One day our concept will not be so unique and I will look forward to that day - it means more people making and designing great things that will make this planet better for all. PEACE OUT!